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Greetings all,

First off, I am not a furniture maker. I don't really do any architectural turning anymore. I build and repair musical instruments so bare that in mind when you read this.

Google Sketchup is a really good Architectural modeling program. It will do some CAD-like functions, but it is not really a full featured CAD package like TurboCAD, AutoCAD, etc and was never meant to be. As a result, when it comes to modeling things like musical instruments where very tight specifications must be dealt with, it is really rather clunky.

So, after messing with it for a long time trying to get it to do what I need in order to properly model my instruments, I started looking around for a free CAD package that is reasonably full featured. What I found was very interesting. AutoCAD is one of the best, if not the best CAD packages out there. Sadly, it is also one of the most expensive as well. However, AutoDesk, the makers of AutoCAD has released a free version of the software called AutoCAD 123D.

I just installed it and have not had a chance to really use it, but I will post here and keep you all informed on what I find and how easy it is to use as well.



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I've used AutoCAD professional in electronic packaging and industrial automation layout work. I have to say that if you want the best, the AutoCAD is the way to go.

But being a hobbyist I could never justify the cost to myself. For what I use Skecthup has been fine. I hadn't heard about a free version of AutoCAD. I'll have to check that out. I wonder what features it might be missing when compared to the full price version.

Sounds like Sketchup is got Autodesk worried...

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I downloaded the program and noticed it was downloading as a beta 7 file. I hope AutoDesk is not trying to get everyone on the “hook” and then start charging for it after the final release version is completed. I also noted the file size is 487 MB before installing. I haven’t installed it yet, so I don’t know how much disk space it will ultimately take up.

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post. I was reading above and felt the need to create an account in order to reply.

Anyway, Google Draftsight and you will find an excellent Autocad like program. I have used Autocad for over 15 years and I agree that it's an excellent program however, the price is indeed pretty steep. Draftsight is free program from the company that created Solidworks. If you are familiar with Autocad, you will feel right at home with Draftsight. I have now been using it for several months and it works great. Check it out and let me know what you think.



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